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Radiological Defense

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Radiological Defense

Published 1961

Nuclear fallout menaces Americans.

Run time 26:17
Producer U.S. Office of Civil Defense
Sponsor U.S. Office of Civil Defense and Mobilization
Audio/Visual Sd, C


Film on nuclear fallout and its potential for damage in the event of an attack on the United States.

Freakishly dramatic music. Picture of people going about their daily activity is occasionally colored red to illustrate contamination of radioactive fallout.

Stock Shots:
teletypes in a row; suburbia, houses and lawns; atomic bomb explosions; animation of fallout, explosions, maps of U.S.A.; highways; traffic; crowd scenes; newspaper headlines; debris; corn fields; death

Bizarre shot: cows entering fallout shelter built expressly for them.

classroom instruction in radiation sickness; excellent hospital shot;

excellent actual footage of nuclear explosion;

excellent animation; livestock at pasture; driving through the desert; mountains; anemometer;

serious faces of men at conference table

family in shelter; fallout shelter models; fireman and park ranger uses Geiger counters; evacuation onto school buses; shelter signs;

Danger Lurks Safety
"As serious as fallout is, we can cope with it through an active radiological defense program"<BR>


Reviewer: Steve_Cook - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 6, 2013
Subject: Comparison with the UK Civil Defence
I commenced radiological training in the UK Civil Defence Corps, only 3 years after this film was made. This film mirrors what was happening in the UK, with certain exceptions. First a lot of this stuff was classified, as members of the Corps we weren't supposed to talk about a lot of it. Radiac monitoring was done at several levels, locally the Civil Defence Corps, nationally the Royal Observer Corps, plus the Ministry of Agriculture. In the UK there was virtually no talk of civilian fallout shelters, although there were shelters for government purposes, known as Regional Seats of Government (RSGs). Civil Defence control was split into several levels, warden posts at the bottoms, our sub-regional control (and local HQ) was a wooden hut, replaced in 1967 buy a glazed(!) semi-basement, under the Town Hall.
Our radiac instruments were fewer in type, basically a personal dosimeter, a contamination meter, a survey meter and a fixed survey meter, with one model of each.
The Civil Defence Corps was placed under a care and maintenance basis with local authorities, which meant they did nothing.
No film like this was produced in the UK for public consumption.
Reviewer: JayKay49 - favoritefavorite - December 18, 2011
Subject: Advertisement for Big Government?
I get the distinct impression that the whole raison d'etre of this film is to advertise and sustantiate all these government agencies and somehow (ineffectively in this case) show how important and vital they are. The bomb shelter and steps for individuals seems stuck on at the end - like an afterthought - perhaps to leave the viewer with the thought that in fact this is a film on how to protect yourself from fallout.....but if that was true, the preceding part of the film could have been completed in 4 minutes - max.

Not one of the better films on civil defense....but I always enjoy the scenery from the good ol days. I remember model homes in that era with bomb shelters in the basement.

That narraator: John Forsythe?
Reviewer: tacet - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 4, 2011
Subject: 1960s a lifetime ago
Keep in mind when watching this, in the 1960 the threat of Nuclear war was much more openly discussed (compared to now), which is particularly interesting when considering the sheer number of nations with this kind of weaponry.

These days we tend to brush it off, it's somebody else's problem, it's not that serious, is it?

I just wonder what the original guys who came up with this technology would make of things.

btw, keeping live stock alive makes a lot of sense when food is essentially poisoned if exposed. Just ask the poor folks in Northern Japan what that's like.
Reviewer: jgruszynski - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 3, 2009
Subject: Still dead nuts on in terms of facts.
I never quite get the reviews of these older films. Folks are simply too young or too isolated from reality maybe.

There is nothing whatsoever in the film that incorrect or implausible in terms of fact or scenario. It's all pretty much still true.

The way folks worked in the 1950s was pretty close to what is shown. It's all pre-calculator and pre-PC computers so, yes, this really is how they did things. Look up what a slide rule is.

The tone? If you don't think a nuclear attack is a likely possibility, then yeah, it's strangely urgent and overly dramatic. But if such an attack did occur, everything mentioned including the dire effects on agriculture are completely accurate even today.
Reviewer: zubol - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 21, 2006
Subject: Atomic-nuclear: Civil defense; Cold War
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 18, 2004
Subject: "I may be incenerated, but i'll be damned if anything happens to my golf clubs"
Somewhat entertaining film which deals about all the bad old atom bomb, and the aftereffects that it could cause. The main focus of the film is about fallout, it can travel quite fast (so fast a group of engineers stand around a big map that has a "Fallout Situation" in front of it, marking up the board like crazy. a lot of this film is of course, dramatized, but a lot of it is TOO overly so. Are we really to believe that a group of experts are locked in a room in a top secret room and the only thing they talk about is how long fallout lasts?? wouldnt they know that??? (love the panning shots too). Of course, with this kind of film, preventive methods are shown in abundance, build a fallout shelter for the cows! dust off the fallout particles! and (best of all) protect your sporting equipment! I was actually surprised at this film. as this has a bit more urgency and glum reality poised to it, as compared to Duck And Cover and Atomic Alert.
Reviewer: trafalgar - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 19, 2004
Subject: Be very afraid...
Great nuclear fallout scare film (which is not to say that nuclear fallout isn't scary). Made much like a sci-fi film, with it's hyper-dramatic narrator, intense musical stings, and crazy-cool atomic graphics (see the thumbnails). The first half is the real keeper, as people on the street are shot through a red filter to indicate contamination, a man is shown dying in a hospital bed (close-up of his hand going limp), and we are told that "ALL of us live within fallout range of a likely target!" The second half drags a bit, with the standard descriptions of civil defense procedures, but all in all, great stuff. The picture and sound are in excellent condition, though the color fades a bit in the second half. And, oh yeah, the beginning and end titles are typed out on a teletype cool. Recommended.
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